Wednesday, 25 August 2010
Well here we are - almost a year on and we are back in Orewa north of Auckland sorting out the contents of the van, deciding what to take home, what to send on and what to ditch - mostly our now rather threadbare clothes.
There has been nothing we brought with us that we have not used at some stage which is pleasing as we are always conscious of the limited space available - we may not need cold weather gear in Oz but will take some anyway and are already planning to add additional water and fuel storage plus somehow a second spare wheel! Anway this is all in the future so time to recall the events of the last few weeks.
After an inspiring few days around the Cape we headed down the west coast staying at isolated and empty campsites before a weekend in Pahia with Sue and Danny which included an exciting trip on the Mack Attack which took us on a roller coaster journey out to the Hole in the Wall in the Bay of Islands.
Back on the West Coast we visited the remarkable large kauris that are remnants of the once extensive native forest cover - moving and thought provoking and well worth the diversion.
After a day or two on the Pouto Peninsula where we walked on wide empty beaches but missed the ancient lighthouse we visited the Matakohe kauri museum which filled a whole day and was one of the best we have visited.
Back on the east coast we re-visited Tutukaka and then Whangarei before another stay at Uretiti DOC site from where we visited Marsden Point - NZ's only oil refinery explained through an excellent visitor centre.
Finally we returned to Tawharanui headland where the almost sinister predator proof fence enclosed us as we enjoyed a full moon on what was to be our final night in the van.
A slow puncture and a poor forecast encouraged us to head to Orewa a day early where we now sit awaiting the next phase of our travels.
Everything seems to be in place and with luck we will be able to post a more reflective piece before we set off home.
Final few NZ pics are here - some 3000 in total stored and that's after heavy deleting!!
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
The North Cape has proved to be a wonderfully rewarding way to finish our trip with the warmth of this almost sub tropical area and lengthy spells of sunshine very much appreciated.
Our leisurely pace took us up the east coast with visits to wonderfully deserted beaches, another snorkelling session and some memorably quiet D0C sites right on the beach.
A short break at the excellent Acacia Lodge in Mangonui provided some home comforts before we headed for Cape Reinga itself.
En route the Te Paki dunes were a major highlight with the vast and extensive sand hills stretching out above Ninety Mile Beach where a night at a quiet camp site at Hukatere had been particularly special.
Moving Spirits Bay was memorable for its sense of tradition and meaning but we spent longer at Taputupotu as there were good walks available nearby. A kiwi family who had just embarked on living on the road full time had plenty of advice regarding Australia where they had lived for many years and were keen to learn about the many highlights of New Zealand - Jack and sarah even managed to communicate via their Nintendos!
The walk to the Cape was strenuous but worthwhile following a coast path that dropped to idyllic Sandy Bay with the odd sharp shower followed by hot sun manipulating the view across the Pacific.
Round at the Cape the merging of the Tasman and Pacific created a dramatic maelstrom with huge waves crashing together with the Three Kings Islands in the far distance. The finger post detailing distances to various places was for us quite significant listing as it did London, Tokyo, Bluff and the South Pole amongst others.
The following day we enjoyed a full day's walk out to Cape Van Diemen which felt like the end of the world surrounded on three sides by blue ocean - green lipped mussels the size of cricket balls were collected for tea before the long trek back along the deserted beach.
So we now head south with only a fortnight left on the road - Cape Reinga has been the perfect finale to ten amazing months - time now to get home and see everyone whilst looking forward to more adventures as a new chapter unfolds.
This link will take you to the latest humble photo offerings.